The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is doing its part to help combat the lingering coronavirus pandemic. The foundation has announced that it is donating $150 million to help create 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine for economically challenged countries, at the low cost of just $3 or less per dose.
Serum Institute of India, the manufacturer of the cost-efficient solution, is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. The company has garnered success by manufacturing in massive quantities as opposed to charging high prices like many other pharmaceutical companies.
The company had previously announced that it was beginning to manufacture the vaccine, which was developed by Oxford University. What makes the move risky is the fact that researchers have not yet finished clinical trials before they began to mass-produce the promising yet unproven vaccine.
The reason for premature manufacturing is the amount of time that it will take to manufacture such large volumes. Assuming that the Oxford vaccine will be approved, doses of it will need to be ready for distribution as soon as the final trial results are in, which could be as early as September.
The massive donation was made via GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, which is an organization that negotiates and finances vaccines for low-income and middle-income countries. GAVI is also supported by the Gates Foundation and will also contribute money to the Serum Institute.
“Too many times we’ve seen the most vulnerable countries left at the back of the queue when it comes to new treatments, new diagnostics, and new vaccines,” GAVI CEO Dr. Seth Berkley said in a statement. “With COVID-19 vaccines, we want things to be different. If only the wealthiest countries in the world are protected, then international trade, commerce, and society as a whole will continue to be hit hard as the pandemic continues to rage across the globe. This new collaboration is an important step in our efforts to prevent this from happening, helping to ensure we have additional manufacturing capacity to begin producing doses for every country, not just the wealthy few.”